Sunday, May 27, 2007

who needs school?

School's out for summer, that is, for some kids. We do our version of unschool every day and don't recognize summer vacation as anything different. So the other day, my kids were playing with the neighbor's grandkids. Lovely boys, I knew their father when I was a kid. They are a few years older than my oldest kid, and have always played really nice with the girls, even littlest one. Anyway, one of them was talking about school, asked where J goes to school. I told him she doesn't go to school, that she's homeschooled instead. He proceeded to tell me very seriously that she *needs* to go to school. I asked him why (I'm not above debating with a child, if that's the only person who cares to start with me). So the washing machine stopped and I had to grab the laundry and put it on the line, so the debate ended with me saying "she does go to school, she just does it at home."
As I was hanging the wash on the line, the children somehow packed themselves (both of my girls, plus the triplet boys) in our rather small sandbox, which is right beside my clothesline.

Same boy started to tell my kids what he feels are the most important things he is learning in school... He told them to never trust strangers, that you should always trust your family, your parents and your grandparents, your aunts and uncles, and your cousins, but you should never trust any strangers ever. I let him get his shpiel out before I disagreed. I said "that's not always true! You should always listen to your heart to tell you who you should trust or not." Didn't want to get into how most every single person I know who was victimized as a child, the perpetrator was a family member or close family friend, so I said, "how are you ever going to make new friends if you never trust strangers?" He said, "but they might hurt you. They might kill you!!" I said, "but they might not. They might be wonderful people and you'd never know it because you don't trust them." He started repeating what he has already said, verbatim, like it's been drilled into his head that way. I said "I don't believe that and I don't want my children thinking it is true." J stepped in at that point and said, "It's okay, Mama, I know not to believe it." end of conversation.

The next most important thing he learned in school is to never use bad words, said that makes you a bad person. Okay, you who know me can picture my eyes buggin out of my head at this point. I simply said you aren't a bad person if you aren't hurting anyone, it's just words. He repeated the pre-packaged shpiel verbatim, then added, "but it's okay sometimes like when your Mommy gets really upset with you,,, and boys cuss a lot, too." I turned around at that point, couldn't contain myself any longer and said, "I cuss a lot, too." Everyone got very quiet. I hung another pair of jeans on the line before I added, "I'm just real careful not to cuss around people who don't like to hear those words. Some people get really upset about it when you cuss." Brother said "Yeah, like teachers." We all agreed that one should never ever use cuss words around teachers, it makes them go crazy. LOL

This, at least from these particular children's perspectives (I believe they attend one of the better local christian schools), are the important things they are learning in school and why my kids should go. hmmm... Of course, academically, J is right about the same level they are and they have been in school for several years now while she is officially just finishing kindergarten, but that's not what matters. What really matters is that you behave a certain way, otherwise you are a bad person. What really matters is that you never trust people you don't know. EEEK!


Professional Mom said...

If you're not in control of your child's education, then you never really know who is and what they are teaching.

Keep pushing those buttons; I know I do.

stacy said...

it's not about control, it's about freedom... it's about allowing my children the autonomy they deserve.

stacy said...

my children are in control of their own education, not I, and certainly not anyone else.